Expo West 2013: New events you can't missNatural Products Expo West 2013 is all about new—more new products and companies than ever before and fresh educational opportunities to help everyone build better businesses. This year, more than 60,000 people will see 2,300 exhibitors, 650 of which are showing at Expo West for the first time. Quantifying the number of product launches from longstanding traditional companies to the newest in the business presents a great challenge for show director Adam Andersen, but he estimates 10,000 to 40,000 items will debut at this show. 

This special guide from Natural Foods Merchandiser will help you make the most of your time in Anaheim, starting here with info about new events and some of the faves you don’t want to miss.

This year’s Natural Products Expo West features the opening of an exciting gathering place in the new Grand Plaza, where nightly “Evenings on the Plaza” will feature food, music and fun as a backdrop for networking and relaxing after a day on the show floor. During the day, enjoy entertainment or a place to rest or meet with fellow expo goers under the California sun.  

Evening events on the plaza include:

  • Welcome Reception from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 7, with food, drink, music and networking sponsored by Balance Bar.
     
  • Manitoba Harvest’s 15th Anniversary Celebration from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, March 8, with the culture-mashing Los Angeles band Ozomatli and hors d’oeuvres highlighting Manitoba hemp seeds. 
     
  • Organic Valley’s 25th Anniversary Celebration from 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 9, with the cooperative’s own Cultivate band on stage and some of its new products on the party platters.
     

Other new and top events

Visit the new NEXT Pavilion. Find the newest brands and unique products on Level 300 at the Anaheim Convention Center. This special room highlights a few hundred tabletop exhibitors.

Check out the inaugural Business Solutions Pavilion, where you’ll find tools for your business operation ranging from fixtures to software in one convenient location in Hall B at the Convention Center.

Join the Specialty Diets Forum from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, March 7. This special conference features keynote speaker Robyn O’Brien and insights from Pam MacDonald of Pam MacD’s Gluten-Free Market and Kristin Bauer of HBO’s hit television series True Blood in a half-day of sessions that explore specialty diet retailing. The $195 attendance fee includes lunch. 

Visit the Engredea show and attend education sessions now that it co-locates with Natural Products Expo West. Engredea education and exhibitors highlight ingredients, packaging, technologies, equipment and services for suppliers and manufacturers.

Take the retail store tour of some of Southern California’s best natural products and specialty stores from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, March 7. Attendance costs $60, includes breakfast and starts at the Hilton Anaheim. Attendees can purchase lunch on their own at the featured outlets.

Network with leading organic producers and manufacturers during the Fresh Ideas Organic Marketplace on Thursday, March 7. The event highlights certified organic products in a personable, open-air, farmers market-style venue from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. under the big white tent at the Marriott. 

Celebrate the natural product industry’s leaders as they are recognized during the Hall of Legends reception and awards presentation with cocktails and appetizers from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 8, at the Hilton Anaheim.

Mingle at the Women in Naturals Networking event from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Friday, March 8, at the Hilton Anaheim. Pam MacDonald of Pam MacD’s Gluten-Free Market in Burbank, Calif., and Naomi Whittel, founder and CEO of Reserveage Organics, will speak about female leadership in the natural products industry.

Prep for a big day on the floor during the Free Food Café Breakfast buffet from 7:30 to 10 a.m. on Friday, March 8, at the Anaheim Marriott. The Boulder Brands-sponsored breakfast will include vegan and gluten-free selections and nondairy smoothies. Attendees also will learn about some new Udi’s, Earth Balance and Glutino products. 

Stretch into Saturday with yoga and a continental breakfast featuring Stonyfield yogurt from 7 to 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 9, in the Avalon Ballroom at the Hilton Anaheim.

Get in on the conversation at the Retailer Town Hall from 9 to 10:15 a.m. on Sunday, March 10, in Anaheim Marriott Grand Ballroom E. The “town hall” meeting will include an open discussion about moving toward a meaningful definition of “natural.”